Last weekend (Thanksgiving) while on a casual stroll with my family in the Adirondack mountains trying to work off the fog from days of endless eating, drinking, and napping, I innocently dropped the term "babyhead" to describe a certain trail feature to my Mom. The reaction from her (horror) abruptly jolted me out of my turkey-and-pecan-pie-induced trance and I was reminded that the infantile language we bikers use can actually be quite amusing. So I shamelessly committed myself to frittering away the remainder of that day to capture some of these terms in this blog for my amusement, and yours.
I am sure you can find many cycling dictionaries out there, but this one is special - it is grounded our own local "dialect" - the select slang terms that we customarily use in our cozy little biking family. I have even cited our own people or locales where appropriate.
I am sure I have missed some doozies, so if you think of any please send them my way and I'll be sure to include them in the next MO7S glossary (with proper attribution of course). I'll go out on a limb right now and say that this might be an annual thing, a fritter-the-time-away-between-naps Thanksgiving tradition of sorts.
So here goes, the official unexpurgated 2008 MO7S Biking Glossary:
- Babyheads - terrain with many medium size rocks (roughly the size of a baby's head) protruding from the ground which make negotiating a trail treacherous. Similar to deathcookies, but bigger. French Creek is a babyhead wonderland.
- Bacon - large thick scabs found on shins, knees, arms, and elbows resulting from a bike crash. Handy distraction during long weekday conference calls (picking them that is).
- Bonk - expression used by cyclists to describe exercise induced low blood sugar levels; a feeling of light-headedness and weakness in all limbs. "I was bonking until Chris gave me his Gatorade" Has fallen out of usage in recent years due to alternative meanings not appropriate for this blog.
- Booty - sock like neoprene cover for biking shoes that keeps feet warm and dry during cold muddy winter rides. For bootylicious please see Jim.
- Bunny hop - to lift both wheels off the ground by crouching down and then exploding upward, pulling the bike with you. Useful for clearing obstructions such as railroad ties, rocks, and small logs.
- Chain ring tattoo - the dotted-line scar you get from gouging your shin on the chain ring. Also known as a rookie mark.
- Chainsuck - when the chain fails to cleanly disengage as it leaves a chainring or sprocket and begins to wrap around, generally due to a bent tooth or stiff chain link.
- Clipless - misleading name for a pedal-and-shoe system where pedals mechanically clip onto cleats on the sole of your shoe. Always entertaining the first time someone (Matt) rides with them.
- Dab - touch the ground with your foot in order to maintain balance through a tricky piece of trail. Also shoulder dab, done against a passing tree or fence post. Considered to be bad form. "That was pretty good crossing that stream, too bad you had to dab."
- Double butted - spokes that are a heavier gauge at the ends than the middle, strength with less weight penalty. May also be triple-butted (3 different gauges), getting into J-Lo territory now...
- Doubletrack - path that is as wide or wider than two bikes, and only half as much fun as singletrack (inverse relationship). See Singletrack
- Endo - an abrupt trip over the front handlebars, to go "end over". Often characterized by matching thigh bruises where your legs impact the handlebars on the way over.
- Epic - a ride that must last for at least six hours and include at least three mechanicals, one of which requires a trip back to the car for a special tool. Epics are usually started with a statement like "the trail looks easy, it should about take two hours." Think Blue Marsh (Matt).
- Face plant - in a fall when your face is the first part of your body to impact the ground. In the most extreme cases it may leave a nose shaped imprint in the dirt. Also known as a digger. Ask DaveM about how the "O positive" trail got it's name.
- Fixie - a bicycle with a single rear cog affixed directly to the hub of the wheel. A fixie does not allow coasting. The ultimate in cycling simplicity, eclipsed only by the unicycle.
- Full rigid - frame with no suspension. See Full Squishy, Hardtail
- Full squishy - both wheels suspended, full suspension. See Full Rigid, Hardtail
- Granny gear - the lowest (easiest) gear ratio. So easy to pedal your grandmother could do it.
- Gravity - style of riding that depends primarily on gravity for propulsion rather than pedalling. Downhill DH and Free Riding FR or gravity oriented, while Cross Country XC and All Mountain AM use both gravity and pedalling. "Snowflake: I don't like XC because it's too slow, too boring, and too much work"
- Grind - a long slow painful climb. Alternatively, to rub two things together in a forceful manner.
- Hammer- to ride fast and hard.
- Hammer Head- someone who doesn’t know the meaning of "enjoyable pace". They usually ride hard and fast all the time.
- Hard tail - rear wheel is rigidly affixed to the bike frame, rear not suspended. See Full Rigid, Full Squishy
- Lawyer Tabs - Ridges or bumps on the front fork dropouts that keep the wheel semi-secured even if the quick release is not tightened. This is done as a defense against frivolous lawsuits. It also means that the quick release must be adjusted every time it is used, essentially making it a slow-release. "Did you see that guy crash when is front wheel came off while grabbing some air off the curb on the way to the ice cream store with his 8 year old kid? Too bad he didn't have lawyer tabs." Jamie can elaborate.
- Lefty - Cannondale's innovative mountain bike suspension fork (half of one actually). Alternatively a term for a marijunana cigarette or someone with liberal political leanings.
- Line - the fastest or safest way through a technical section of trail.
- Milk Run - a trip with many stops
- Mojo - action figure or other idolotry affixed to the seatpost of your bike, for example Jimmy Snooka.
- MRDBS - Mike Rikey's Drunken Bike Shop. 'nuff said.
- Mule - rider at the front of the pace line to Chelsy's; by breaking the wind (as opposed to just breaking wind) this rider makes it easier for the riders behind him.
- Nipple - Umm...that thingie that affixes the spoke to the rim. They come in brass and aluminum.
- NOOB - Term of endearment for someone new to mountain biking. Phonetically derived from "newbie".
- Organ donor - someone who rides without a helmet.
- Pace line - really stupid way that we conserve energy during our mad dashes to and from beer drinking sessions at Chelsey's.
- Rat trap - type of platform pedal with nasty protrusions to reduce chances of feet slipping off (the same protrusions that fillet your shins when your feet eventually do slip off).
- Roadie - to ride road bikes, often includes brighly colored spandex attire. Also to transport mountain bikes via motorized vehicle to a remote destination, should include earth tone clothing and little if any spandex. Alternatively, an alchoholic drink that you have in the car, maybe after the bike ride.
- Singletrack - path that is the width of a single bike, and twice as much fun as doubletrack (inverse relationship). See Doubletrack
- Snake bite - signature punctures that result when the inner tube is pinched by the rim, as in a high speed impact with a log or rock. Or a shot of Yukon Jack with a splash of lime.
- Swag - free stuff, sometimes given away as trinkets by your local bike shop (e.g., water bottles, stickers). See Trail Swag
- Taco - when a wheel folds over on itself, pretty much beyond repair.
- Thudbuster - a name for when DaveC crashes, generally near the end of our annual holiday bike ride and beer exchange down by Sebastian's mudpit. Also a suspension seat-post from Cane Creek.
- Track stand - to balance on your bike while stationary.
- Trail swag - free stuff, found on side of trail (e.g., bike pumps, car keys). See Swag
- 29er - Bicycle with 29" diameter wheels instead of the customary 26", reportedly roll better over obstacles.
- 69er - Bicycle with 29" diameter front wheel and 26" diameter rear wheel. Purported to have the advantages of a 29" bike (rolls well over obstacles) and a 26" bike (light weight and low center of gravity).
- Weight weenie - someone who cares more about the weight of their bike than riding it.
- Wrench – someone who has a wrench and knows how to use it.